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DBL%20Hendrix%20small.png College chemistry, 1983

Derek Lowe The 2002 Model

Dbl%20new%20portrait%20B%26W.png After 10 years of blogging. . .

Derek Lowe, an Arkansan by birth, got his BA from Hendrix College and his PhD in organic chemistry from Duke before spending time in Germany on a Humboldt Fellowship on his post-doc. He's worked for several major pharmaceutical companies since 1989 on drug discovery projects against schizophrenia, Alzheimer's, diabetes, osteoporosis and other diseases. To contact Derek email him directly: Twitter: Dereklowe

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March 18, 2013

AstraZeneca Site Closings - And Openings

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Posted by Derek

I started hearing word Friday that it looked like some AstraZeneca sites were preparing for some sort of big announcement or meeting, but I didn't want to run with the news in case it turned out to to be nothing. Well, it wasn't nothing. The company is restructuring R&D:

. . .Under the plans, AstraZeneca's small molecule and biologics R&D activities will be concentrated in three strategic centres: Cambridge, UK; Gaithersburg, US; and Mölndal, Sweden. The proposals are expected to be fully implemented by 2016.

Cambridge, UK: AstraZeneca will invest around $500 million to establish a new, purpose-built facility in Cambridge, a world-renowned centre for life sciences innovation with strong links to globally important research institutions in London. Consolidating the company's UK-based small molecule and biologics research and development at a new centre will build on AstraZeneca's world-leading protein engineering capabilities already based in the city. Cambridge will also become AstraZeneca's new global corporate headquarters.

Gaithersburg, Maryland, US: The site of MedImmune's headquarters and the primary location for AstraZeneca's biologics activities, Gaithersburg will also become home to much of the company's US-based Global Medicines Development activities for small and large molecules and will accommodate some global marketing and US specialty care commercial functions.

Mölndal, Sweden: AstraZeneca's site in Mölndal, near Gothenburg, will continue to be a global centre for research and development, with a primary focus on small molecules.

The three strategic sites will be supported by other existing AstraZeneca facilities around the world, including Boston, Massachusetts, US which will continue to be a centre for research and development, with a primary focus on small molecules.

But that means that some other sites are getting hit. Specifically, Alderley Park in the UK will no longer be an R&D site. The company says that "1,600 roles" will migrate from the site, but it says nothing about people. Alderley Park, which is up to the south of Manchester, is a stiff drive from Cambridge; no one could possible haul 160 miles each way on the M6 every day of the week. AZ's Paddington office in London will also be closing. In the US, 1,200 "roles" will be leaving Wilmington, as the Global Medicines Development group relocates.

So there's a lot that's unclear about this announcement. What happens to the people who are now employed at Alderley Park? How is the company going to staff its new Cambridge (UK) site? And what's the real role of the Waltham (Massachusetts) R&D site in this new arrangement? That one's already gone through a lot of shakeups over the last couple of years. More details as they become known.

Update: FiercePharma says that this comes down to a loss of 650 jobs in the US. No more details on how the UK moves will work, though.

Comments (63) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Business and Markets


1. Anonalso on March 18, 2013 9:35 AM writes...

This now explains why LinkedIn was blowing up a little while ago.

Interesting to see what happens to the Waltham site. Many good chemists have been shuffling around the ID world recently have ended up there.

Time to wait and see.

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2. Pcourtney on March 18, 2013 9:50 AM writes...


what was happening on linkedin? must have missed it.

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3. Me on March 18, 2013 10:13 AM writes...

why close a major site in NW England only to build a new one that will do much the same in Cambridge UK? Why not just rationalize the Alderley Park one and invest what is missing there? Cambridge UK does not bring that much and being 1 hour from London is not much different from being 2.5 hours from London with today's technology. All sounds suspicious to me. Money changing hands and deals being made. No thought for people, communities, or the bigger plan.

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4. Anonymous on March 18, 2013 10:29 AM writes...

For all those considering the move to Cambridge UK - just look and see how expensive it is to live there. I guess the people making such decisions don't have to worry about these things.

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5. Anonymous on March 18, 2013 10:49 AM writes...

I hear AZ have acres and acres of free land at Avonmouth, why not build there as there will be no cost for the land and living expense is vastly reduced to that of Cambridge.

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6. Hap on March 18, 2013 11:22 AM writes...

Maybe it's the same reason every US pharma seems to need a Cambridge, MA location - they're hoping to get candidates (employment and/or drug) either from local universities or local startups and are assuming the quality and/or density of them will make it easier to find new leads or targets. Don't know if it will work, but...

If I'm being really cynical, I might also wonder if the move is intended to be a stealth layoff - people who aren't willing to live at the YMCA (or UK equivalent) M-F or drive 500 km/day will mysteriously stop coming to work, at which point one can then hire cheaper young graduates.

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7. RB on March 18, 2013 11:25 AM writes...

To be fair, Cheshire is a long way away from the major producers of good quality biology graduates in the UK. As other people have said, however, Cambridge is VERY expensive, and a lot of researchers live like students in the South East of UK.

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8. Anonymous on March 18, 2013 11:25 AM writes...

Well, I don't think anyone would deny AZ had to do something to try and avoid the looming icebergs. But spending half a billion $ on a flash new lab in Cambridge...?! Err, yeah, that'll make everything OK.

Good luck all you AZ folks out there.

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9. SP on March 18, 2013 11:27 AM writes...

Someone got a memo about all the other companies opening offices in Cambridge so they had to do this as soon as possible.

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10. David Formerly Known as a Chemist on March 18, 2013 11:30 AM writes...

God, I'm glad I got out of that miserable industry!

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11. Anonymous on March 18, 2013 11:31 AM writes...

Cambridge, UK...NOT MA

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12. Flat Eric on March 18, 2013 11:53 AM writes...

Well, so we have it!! Anyone from R&D who was involved in the AZ Strategy Review in 2012 was left with the distinct impression that moving the focus of Discovery Research at Alderley Park to one therapy area (Oncology) was nothing more than a stop gap.
Having suffered at the hands of a series of crass initiatives such as metrics (reaction counting) and the much discussed Lean Sigma, chemists have at last reached the inevitable conclusion of a series of knee jerk reactions by an incompetent management structure that relied on being seen to be doing something rather than addressing the real issues. Also, having witnessed our previous CEO, the son of a car salesman, pull the heart out of a highly motivated and skilled group of scientists, who maintained their efforts despite growing concerns, it saddens me that this good faith hasn’t been rewarded with a longer term future.
It will be interesting to see as details unfold, what is the real drive behind this move. It’s difficult to rationalise that building a new research centre from the ground up, ‘hopefully’ relocating the R&D skills base and then paying competitive salaries in Cambridge will offer a real advantage over building on established expertise at Alderley Park. In this day and age, co-location seems a fairly weak argument for a global organisation. Are the senior managers and scientists in this organisation really so clueless that they can’t master the concept of effective communication and collaboration across relatively small geographical boundaries without even a language barrier to contend with? With inept management an office door is as good as an ocean when it comes to poor communication and interaction.
With regard to the argument from AZ and above in comment 7 that “Cheshire is a long way away from the major producers of good quality biology graduates in the UK”, this may be true but Cambridge University students don’t all come from Cambridge and in my experience they certainly aren’t all good.
Good luck to all of you at Alderley Park.

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13. Anonymous on March 18, 2013 12:32 PM writes...

It must hve been the proximity of a post on GSK and on AZ but if you are closing down your corporate HQ in London and rebrand Stevenage as Greater Cambridge there is still plenty of space in and around the Biocatalyst

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14. MTK on March 18, 2013 1:09 PM writes...


I'm sure that's the reasoning and I'm wondering if they have data to support that reasoning, i.e. it's been easier to find talent at their current MA site than at other sites.

I'm not sure if it's self-fulfilling, self-inflicted, or self-serving, but the insecurity of Pharma jobs probably means that getting researchers to locate someplace where there isn't a good loci of other possible employers is difficult.

(OK, queue snarky "if they wouldn't be firing..." remarks. I realize there's some truth to that, but you know what I mean.)

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15. Manc on March 18, 2013 1:30 PM writes...

But it's NOT far from universities producing good chemists, or a strong industrial chemistry workforce. The north west is the heartland of industrial chemistry.

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16. Hap on March 18, 2013 1:52 PM writes...

I wasn't saying there weren't good chemists in northern Britain, but I'm assuming that AZ is looking for IP and startups, which I assumed were more dense in Cambridge than in northern UK. Being closer to politicians might be another possible reason. It's also possible that the pharma chemistry workforce is not centered near the industrial chemistry workforce.

Someone on a previous thread had the (more cynical) take that colocating pharma in heavily academic cities allows for two spouses to sustain a tolerable standard or living, employees to have job security without companies actually having to provide long-term employment, and lots of new cheap labor coming out of grad school. I don't know.

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17. Anon on March 18, 2013 2:16 PM writes...

Building a shiny new site used to be a reason to celebrate.

Manchester or Cambridge. I know which location I would rather work and it certainly isn't the NW.

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18. jjbp on March 18, 2013 2:45 PM writes...

The UK is a tiny place in comparison to the USA. The distance between Manchester and Cambridge is only about 180 miles. Alderley Edge is a really nice place, and Manchester has the biggest campus university in the UK (almost 40000 students), and there are other redbrick universities pumping out graduates of all subjects less than 100 miles away. There must be something supernice about Cambridge.

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19. bank on March 18, 2013 3:24 PM writes...

The London/Oxford/Cambridge hub is the closest thing in Europe to either the Bay Area or Boston hubs. Locating there is likely intended to improve access to expertise, startups and IP. The UK Gov't has also announced a number of tax breaks for research-based enterprises.

Prices for housing, etc, drop-off very quickly as one moves out of Cambridge, and can be half as much within 10 miles of the center of Cambridge (as long as it's not in the direction of London). So Cambridge, UK, is cheaper than it seems at first.

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20. Chris Swain on March 18, 2013 3:26 PM writes...

Have they said where they plan to build this new lab? Most of the science parks are at about 90% capacity? Perhaps the new biocampus next to the LMB and the hospital? They seem to be building several thousand new houses there also.

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21. MTK on March 18, 2013 3:29 PM writes...

@Manc and Hap,

IMO, it's not necessarily about the proximity to researchers as much as the proximity to research jobs and the research.

If I've got a chance to work in Cambridge, MA vs. Bangor, ME, then I'm going to work in Cambridge all things being equal, because there's more opportunity to find another job there should I need/want to.

In today's market, especially when your SO may also be looking for a job in the same sector, those considerations have to come into play.

From the company side, you look at either Cambridge and there's a lot of things emerging from the universities and the closer you are to the action the better. 100 miles is a lot further away than you would think.

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22. SMExit on March 18, 2013 3:40 PM writes...

A damning verdict by AZ on the NW of England but also on the discipline of Chemistry within Pharma. This is nothing less than a strategic shift away from small molecule discovery by AZ.

And apparently a lot of the GSK Med Chem labs at Stevenage are half empty or filled with students and "co-located" biologists.

Bleak times indeed.

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23. Scoop on March 18, 2013 4:06 PM writes...


Can understand your comments comparing Bangor ME vs Cambridge, MA but as an ex-Cambridge UK resident now located close to , but not at Alderley Park, I think there are a number of other factors here that havenot been taken into account....

Whilst housing outside Cambridge itself, particularly to the North, is cheaper than Cambridge, prices are still high and housing stock is in reasonable demand. Further, the road infrastructure is already heavily over capacity on many Cambridge routes, particularly around the science parks and those linking Cambridge to the rest of the country. Note that, other than the freeway from Cambridge to London, the next nearest freeway is some 50-odd miles away along one of the busiest and most accident stretches of dal cariaeway in the UK.

Relocating several hundereds of families is also not an easy proposition. Schools in the area are close to or at capacity at both at primary and secondary level in many areas. Whilst single form entry around Alderley is commonplace, over-capacity four-form entry is not uncommon in the slightly cheaper areas and I am not at all convinced that the school infrastrucure can cope with demand, even with three years notice.

Really not sure this has been thought through for those who may Chris notes, the sciene parks are pretty full and the local infrastructure, not just the schools, is already over capacity.

In these days of telecons and Skype, I am also not convinced that locality is a prerequisite to fruitful collaboration. Cambridge might be a good life science hub, but that does not in itself a new drug make..... It does not follow that the best oprtunities will come out of Cambridge.....might just as easily be Oxford, Manchester, St Andrews, Birmingham or anywhere else in the UK. Manchester at least has the advantage of good road, rail and airport links. Whilst well connected to London, connections elsewhere from Cambridge are far from ideal, having experienced them first hand on many occasions.

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24. Scoop on March 18, 2013 4:11 PM writes...

....following on....

Whilst Cambridge has a freeway connecting it to London, it's next nearest freeway is some 50-odd miles away along a very congested and accident prone stetch of road. Likewise with rail and air links.....linkage to London elsewhere is fine, but other connections are not straightforward.

It will be interesting to see how these issues are dealt with. Right now, these are for another day and thoughts are with those at Alderley Park as they work out what thier futures have in store.......

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25. Herdsman on March 18, 2013 4:40 PM writes...

Speaking as a herdsman from Cheshire who just happens to have a first from Fenland Polytechnic, I'm intrigued by the wondrous eco systems, hothouses and hotspots Fenland now boasts.

As herdsmen well know, bovine ordure smells pretty much the same whichever part of the country you farm...

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26. Chris Swain on March 18, 2013 4:47 PM writes...

Scoop, funding for the A14 upgrade was announced last week and there are also a number of other infrastructure upgrades such as schools in place. As I mentioned a new Biocampus and a several huge housing developments so I suspect there will be space. There used to be a rail link between oxford and cambridge perhaps it might be reopened?

Whilst a presence in Cambridge UK, is probably an advantage it is difficult to see the justification for the inevitable disruption of a wholesale move.

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27. Recently Reloacted on March 18, 2013 4:52 PM writes...

I fully agree with the comments made by Scoop.

I'm a chemist who has made the decision to move from Cambridge, UK to the North West due to pretty much the reasons stated by Scoop. I can now afford a much better standard of living on a broadly similar salary

It all seems a bit like relocating for the prestige of it. Building a whole new site at huge cost when they have good facilities and land elsewhere in the country is a waste of good money.

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28. scoop on March 18, 2013 5:23 PM writes...


Great news on the A14 upgrade, but this has been planned (and pulled) several times. I do hope it finally goes ahaed, as it is much needed and would save considerable lost time. However, other connections are still highly problematic and whilst re-opening the Oxford link would perhaps help, it still does not address the somewhat "out-on-a-limb" geaographical location. Don't get me wrong, I have a place in my heart for Cambridge, but pragmatically and logically it is not where I would choose to locate my several hundreds of workers en masse, without absolute guarantees of appropriate capacity.

The new Addenbrookes biocampus, and the expansion at Babraham does add science capacity, but they are both still on heavily congested transport networks which suffer regular holdups.

I dearly hope that the right plans are in place to accomodate all this, I really do, but Cambridge City Council are not the fastest to react to mass influxes and I really worry that families will uproot, relocate nd struggle to find approproate accomodation and schooling, which will not help the productivity at the new site.

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29. Anonymous on March 18, 2013 5:59 PM writes...

Looks like another AZ shambles. 5 years of constant restructuring and job losses with very little to show for it. Does soriot seriously think AZ will attract world renown collaborators ?

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30. dearieme on March 18, 2013 6:00 PM writes...

Let's get down to the nitty gritty. Is this going to make our house more valuable?

As for traffic congestion - let them buy bikes.

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31. dearieme on March 18, 2013 6:07 PM writes...

This may be an opportunity to explain my own solution to the traffic problem in Cambridge. Freeze the river and fens and let everyone skate to work.

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32. drug_hunter on March 18, 2013 6:10 PM writes...

What about the Waltham, MA site? It seems from the press release that small molecule research is now centered in Sweden. But there are many hundreds of researchers in Waltham. What happens to them?

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33. oldnuke on March 18, 2013 7:36 PM writes...

Then there are the Delaware taxpayers who spent over $70m to redesign the roads to suit A-Z.

Almost as big as waste as the continuing tax $$ being flushed on Fisker Automotive at the former GM plant here.

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34. Anon on March 19, 2013 12:24 AM writes...

650 more applicants for fresh graduates to compete with.
It would be interesting if someone could Freedom of Information Act how many H1Bs AstraZeneca files for over the next few months.

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35. Son of Croesus on March 19, 2013 1:35 AM writes...

#27 RedX? Broadly similar means significantly less, right? Not arguing about the cost of living argument, but given a choice I'd take Cambridge/N London every day of he week. AZ might also feel proximity to the new Francis Crick Institute is a key factor.

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36. Anon on March 19, 2013 3:17 AM writes...

I see they are moving the corporate headquarters from central London to Cambridge, perhaps there will be significant savings to be made from the expense account lunches?

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37. Nicolai on March 19, 2013 3:18 AM writes...

(I currently live in Cambridge, UK, and have done for some years)

There's still quite a lot of space to the south of Cambridge, to join in all the other "Genome Campus" and related businesses there, also that's where the large teaching hospital is. Quite a lot of housing is being built there too, and from a rough guess of how fast the other new housing built around here is selling, I reckon it'll be happy to find buyers from AZ.

Sure, it's expensive here, but it's pleasant to live here, compared to the rest of the south-east which is also expensive and often a lot less pleasant.

The idea that 2.5 hours' travel from London (Manchester area) is equivalent to 1 hour's travel (Cambridge) with modern technology, just doesn't ring true. From Cambridge you can reasonably make a day trip to London, which is where all the money, power, other international businesses, and international transport links are - many hapless souls commute it daily, though I don't recommend it as a lifestyle!

Cambridge is highly suitable as a London-connected corporate HQ for a research-based, brain-based business.

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38. Nicolai on March 19, 2013 4:03 AM writes...

I have to wonder what sort of redundancy package the AZ people in Alderley Park have. Under UK law, it's not possible to force someone to relocate that far for their job; if they choose not to relocate, they are deemed to have been made redundant and compulsory redundancy terms (statutory and contractual) apply. If that was a lot of money, the AZ accountants might be interested in persuading a lot of people to relocate to Cambridge.
Of course the actual research managers might be interested in not having all their staff leave, and so be very interested in persuading people to relocate to Cambridge also!
However unlike the USA, sometimes accountants and business managers end up agreeing on this in the UK.

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39. Arthur Dent on March 19, 2013 4:04 AM writes...

The logic of this move completely escapes me. It smacks of desperation on the lines of "Something must be done", "This is something", "Lets do it".

I could understand (just about) closing Alderley Park to concentrate research into the Molndal and Gaithersburg sites. This after all was the rationale for closing the Charnwood site. However closing Alderley Park, which has had multimillion pounds of investment in state of the art laboratory facilities over the last 20 years, in order to build a new site in Cambridge seems perverse.

Manchester has arguably better transport connections than London as anyone who has used its airport and Heathrow will readily testify. Manchester is also connected directly into the UK motorway system and it is perfectly possible to do day trips up to town, I have done it on many occasions.

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40. London_Chemist on March 19, 2013 4:48 AM writes...

So just how long will it take to build this shiny new site in Cambridge? 3 years? 4 years? 6 years (look how long the Crick is taking). Or are they going for an existing site (and if so, where?)? Is Terlings Park (ex-MSD) still for sale?

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41. Anon on March 19, 2013 5:49 AM writes...

@40, there are two vacant R&D sites in Harlow, Tbh the Merck site was left to rot, be quicker to knock it down and start again than try and get it back up to scratch. The GSK site is in full working order however.
But, it would be a bit of a stretch to call Harlow Greater Cambridge, and I certainly know where I would rather live, and it ain't Harlow!

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42. Recently Relocated on March 19, 2013 8:13 AM writes...

#35 Son of Croesus

I actually got a pay rise when I moved jobs, just not a huge leap in salary which is why I said broadly similar.

I was in the process of applying for RedX when I got the job I'm in now. It's not pharma based nor was my previous job.

Like many people on here I'm finding the area much better connected than Cambridge. The whole Cambridge area is hampered by bad transport, it needs more three lane Motorways/Freeways building to prevent the regular pile ups on the A14.

From my time there I always thought that the 'go to London for entertaiment' argument was flawed as there is a lack of late night options to travel back and the cost for myself and better half would be over £50 just to get there and get tube passes for the day.

It could prove an astute move for AZ in the long run but from the outside it seems a bit of crazy move when there is plenty of empty lab space elsewhere in the country (including just north of London).

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43. Anonymous on March 19, 2013 9:37 AM writes...

According to Science Minister Willets on the radio this morning, AZ ran an internal competition to decide where the R&D from Alderley Park went - either Cambridge at the Medimmune (Cambridge Antibody Technology) site or to Boston (Waltham) site. He said that the UK environment convinced AZ to stay in UK - suspect he means lower corporation tax rates and the Patent Box.

#41 - Believe they are planning on it being at the same site as Medimmune

#40 - They have given themselves three years for the move from London and AP

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44. London_Chemist on March 19, 2013 10:21 AM writes...

#43. Thanks for the info. Surprised there is room on Granta Park for what they are proposing.

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45. Sinnick on March 19, 2013 11:34 AM writes...

@44 my prediction is that they won't move many people from the NW (most will be made redundant) and the talk of investment is a way of avoiding bad press over the former. I might be wrong but I'd be prepared to bet on this...

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46. Dr. Manhattan on March 19, 2013 1:01 PM writes...

"Looks like another AZ shambles. 5 years of constant restructuring and job losses with very little to show for it. Does Soriot seriously think AZ will attract world renown collaborators?"

Yes, and the company is losing 40% of revenue through 2016 due to expirations. Does shuffling people around in the UK and US and building new expensive buildings in Cambridge over the next three years fix that problem? More disruption is not what is needed at present.

"Under the plans, AstraZeneca's small molecule and biologics R&D activities will be concentrated in three strategic centres: Cambridge, UK; Gaithersburg, US; and Mölndal, Sweden. The proposals are expected to be fully implemented by 2016." And what kind of company will AZ be by 2016, given the financial challenges?? Will it even survive or be bought/merged?

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47. Chris Swain on March 19, 2013 1:03 PM writes...

@44 There is a large expanse of land already designated for development at Granta Park, so space would not be an issue.
Also pretty close to Genome Campus and Babraham sites.

Not that close to all the new housing being built around Cambridge though, but would mean they could drive to villages in Suffolk.

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48. Bill on March 19, 2013 1:27 PM writes...

For all the talk of heritage and expertise at AP, nothing much has come out of it in the last 10 years. That's all there is to it.
The most exciting cancer drug in the pipeline? Olaparib - discovered in - you guessed it - Cambridge.
AP is full of experts in drug failure, an undeniable truth. The best scientists there left over 10 years ago.

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49. Bill on March 19, 2013 1:28 PM writes...

For all the talk of heritage and expertise at AP, nothing much has come out of it in the last 10 years. That's all there is to it.
The most exciting cancer drug in the pipeline? Olaparib - discovered in - you guessed it - Cambridge.
AP is full of experts in drug failure, an undeniable truth. The best scientists there left over 10 years ago.

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50. Bill on March 19, 2013 1:56 PM writes...

For all the talk of heritage and expertise at AP, nothing much has come out of it in the last 10 years. That's all there is to it.
The most exciting cancer drug in the pipeline? Olaparib - discovered in - you guessed it - Cambridge.
AP is full of experts in drug failure, an undeniable truth. The best scientists there left over 10 years ago.

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51. Anonymous on March 19, 2013 2:52 PM writes...

Sounds like a tax dodge, tory government offers large multinational corporation a deal to hang around and simultaneously screws the north of England! (see Google, Vodafone, Starbucks etc for other HMRC complicit "incentive schemes", but to be fair these were going on under the labour government too). This slavish devotion to Thatcherite policies and attitudes from both tory and labour is getting a bit old now. However, maybe this is similar to the deal the Florida Marlins had with Miami. Build me a ballpark or we're leaving the country... The FSA (UK equivalent of the SEC) should investigate, except they can't because George Osbourne abolished it a couple of years ago.
Seriously though, this will be a dagger to the heart of the Macclesfield area especially after the huge job loss at the manufacturing plant a couple of years ago. I grew up in the area and the proximity and of AZ is probably a big reason I got into chemistry in the first place. AZ is (now was) the major employer in the area
@ Bill
Sadly this is probably true, the decline of R&D at Alderley has been a steady process over the last decade or two. I can't see how a move to Cambridge will alter the management strategy that preceded this decline.
@ 43
"According to Science Minister Willets on the radio this morning". Really? is his title science minister now? I knew things were bad but come on! He may have 2 brains but science minister? Is it ironic? Like Henry Kissinger winning the Nobel peace prize? wait, that really happened??
I need a lie down, this whole thing really shouldn't upset me so much but it does... on many different levels!

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52. fGlaxoid on March 19, 2013 3:06 PM writes...

Anyone who knows AZ and Cambridge will know that this idea makes no sense. Someone has their eye on a cushy Cambridge academic job in a few years time, just wait and see.

Alderley was the only pharma site in a nice, uncrowded part of the UK and it's a tragedy it's going. So sorry for you all, you're lions led by donkeys.

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53. Virgil on March 19, 2013 5:01 PM writes...

As a past/present resident of Cambridge UK, the Bay Area and Cheshire, and occasional visitor to Boston Mass, I know which comes a distant fourth for me as a place to live.

Advice to a Frenchman: Beware a Greek bearing gifts...

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54. Old Chum on March 19, 2013 5:14 PM writes...

@51. Take it easy and have a stiff drink. In the great chemistry lab up in the sky the Meritorious will eventually triumph over the meretricious...

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55. AZ alumnus on March 20, 2013 4:31 AM writes...

I used to work at AP. It does have a lot of folk with low productivity and a sense of entitlement. AZ has been trying to get rid of these for a while now, but every move they have made has just meant that the best people have left and the dross has clung on.

This "Cambridge move" smells of a shot across the bow to finally get rid of the poor performers, however I can see it misfiring in the same way as before - the best talent will now have a 1-3 year period during which they will be very receptive to calls from head hunters. I wonder if the Cambridge move will actually happen in the way they are now outlining, with the huge investment - or will they "adjust their plans" in a year or two?

As a shareholder in AZ, I cannot see how they will achieve a better pipeline and push up the share price by spending $500m in Cambridge, a significant amount in AP on redundancies and relocation, while disrupting the whole of R&D for a prolonged period. Is this necessary for Soriot to put his mark on the company? An expensive mark indeed.

When they moved a lot of commercial jobs from AP and other places to London Paddington, they manifestly failed to tap into the London talent pool that they should have been able to leverage - I have seen some spectacularly poor recruitments there. Unless this track record is completely reversed, AZ will dredge the Cambridge area for poor talent...

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56. Anonymous on March 20, 2013 1:40 PM writes...

"...very receptive to calls from head hunters"

Wow, I had no idea Asda used head hunters these days! You learn something new every day.

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57. Dr Baritone on March 21, 2013 5:01 AM writes...

Essentially AZ is closing its UK small molecule efforts completely, I agree with AZ alumnus that there is a distinct possibility the Cambridge venture will not happen.
AZ closed its productive small molecule teams/sites in the UK two years ago. It looks like its US centres are limited in small molecules and subservient to the large molecule franchise. AZ is a large molecule Biopharmaceutical company now and if you are interested in the long term (as a shareholder) then you have to hope that the MedI pipeline performs magic.
I'm selling my shares

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58. Ricardo Rose on March 21, 2013 7:02 AM writes...

And meanwhile they just went to do this:

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59. Ed on March 21, 2013 9:36 AM writes...

#57 - is it your understanding that there will be minimal wet research chemistry in Cambridge?

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60. petros on March 21, 2013 9:47 AM writes...

Well the pipeline and R&D strategy is highlighted in today's presentation. It does emphasise the biologicals, especially in respiratory which is now one of just 3 core areas.

Given that AZ has yet to bring any biological product to market, since acquiring CAT and MedImmune, it is not unreasonable to be sceptical of its prospects.

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61. For the record on March 21, 2013 6:16 PM writes...

@48 and @55. Caprelsa, approved by the FDA in 2011 for treatment of medullary thyroid cancer, was discovered in an integrated project that originated at Alderley Park and continued as a chemistry project at Reims (site closed 2012), and was then developed at the Alderley Park site. Advances in understanding patient selection for Iressa (discovered at Alderley Park) have been driven from Alderley Park. Phase II and III development of Olaparib has been driven from Alderley Park. Zibotentan, AZD8931, the Aurora kinase inhibitor and the Src inhibitor, all of which progressed at least well into Phase II, all originated from Alderley Park. Over the last decade no project based at the Boston "hub" has progressed beyond early Phase II.

And, oh yes, by the way, Brilinta was discovered at the Charnwood site closed by AZ in 2010. Paltry n, I know, but embryonic pattern emerging here...

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62. NCE on March 22, 2013 12:44 PM writes...

61: Seroquel at Wilmington, DE

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63. Colin on March 15, 2014 2:17 PM writes...

With the emerging news of possible shut downs and people loosing jobs in AZ, is it safe then to accept a job offer from AZ at this moment? I have 2 job offers and considering whether to accept AZ (Cheshire region) or reject it in favour of another company on.... thinking of job security.
Someone advice ...

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